Australian spider named after Sir David Attenborough

media captionSir David said the spider was "certainly beautiful"

A tiny spider discovered recently in Australia has been named after British TV naturalist Sir David Attenborough.

The species - Prethopalpus attenboroughi - is a little over a millimetre in length and found only on Horn Island off northern Queensland.

It is not the first time Sir David has been recognised like this - a fossil of a fish that lived 380 million years ago was named Materpiscis attenboroughi.

The broadcaster said he was honoured by his name being used with the arachnid.

'Biggest of compliments'

In an acceptance speech in Perth, Western Australia, Sir David said about his new namesake: "I take it that it is careful in its judgement, merciless, certainly beautiful and I will treasure it and I thank you very much indeed for this.

"Naming a species is the biggest of compliments that you could ask from any scientific community and I truly thank you very much indeed for this one."

The spider is commonly known as a goblin spider, so the scientists behind the find said that made it Attenborough's goblin spider.

The team said it was named after Sir David because of his enthusiasm for nature and his ability to make biology accessible to generations of television viewers over six decades.

More on this story